Organization Name: think! architecture & design pllc. with JASA and Urban Builders. Landscape design by Melk!
Project Title: Nolita Park Senior Housing Development
Project Location: New York, NY
The goal of this proposal is to create a new neighborhood model that meets the community’s need of preserving a beloved public open space and the creation of needed affordable housing for seniors. The project proposes a new model that reinvents an existing community garden and integrates it with new senior housing above. The senior residences are meant to create long-lasting and dignified housing in a nurturing setting. The goal of the public space is to provide opportunities for interaction between the building’s residents, neighbors and visitors alike through an original and placid garden social space. We saw the challenge at Elizabeth and Mott Streets was to find the right balance between creating the most amount of affordable housing while giving back a genuine and authentically enjoyable landscaped public amenity for the entire community to use.
The heart of the project is a new and uniquely landscaped 12,000 sf public open space. Two buildings comprising 116 units 7 floors in height are ‘elevated’ to allow public access between Mott and Elizabeth Streets. The commercial space totals 10,000 sf and is divided into ground level ‘pavilions’ and a large cellar level space with direct street access. The garden avoids the sense that it is a private domain, by keeping the openings from the streets as wide as possible and allowing a strong visual connection promoting an open feeling. Below the two raised buildings are free-formed glass retail/ glass pavilions relating to the natural elements of the garden with great visual transparency from the street into the courtyard. The underside of the residential buildings is a wooden "under-belly" to soften the texture of the buildings and to encourage entry into the courtyard. The brick facades are a playful mix of large and small window relating to the exiting urban fabric.
The project retains the open and eclectic character of the site while strengthening its connection to the street. We have deliberately provided access from both Elizabeth Street and Mott Street to create the atmosphere of an intimate piazza and to ensure its universal accessibility for all. Once inside the garden the user is transported to another world, removed from the chaos of the street, where one can enjoy their time spent in serenity and respite. This type of intrinsic and unexpected beauty is what draws locals and visitors alike to the current garden. Many come for a leisurely stroll beneath the dappled light of the large trees, to sit-down for a quick lunch, or to read a good book amid the antique sculptures. The new garden design preserves all of those experiences, but also, goes further. In addition to a carefully selected plant palette that is designed for year-round beauty and interest, the planters themselves act as sculptures within the garden.
think! architecture & design is a 20 person design collaborative based in Downtown Brooklyn, led by principals Marty Kapell, Jack Esterson and Ernesto Vela. While their practice is diversified, their current focus is in affordable and supportive housing. Their core mission is to provide to New York's communities the highest level of design quality, in the belief that the physical environment plays a great part in people's sense of well-being and participation in public life. JASA's mission is to sustain and enrich the lives of the aging in the New York metropolitan area so that they can remain in the community with dignity and autonomy. Founded in 1968, JASA is one of New York’s largest and most trusted agencies serving older adults in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. They provide life sustaining programs for seniors and peace of mind for their families and friends